14 April 2006

FOX'sThe Loop is one their better attempts at comedy

For the most part, I’ve been going on and on to anyone who will listen, how much TV is going to the dogs. Advertisers want the youth money, yet the people who are watching TV these days are not youths, but mostly adults above the age of 25. This schism creates some bizarre contradictions in programming. Sure, as I’ve said before, American Idol draws huge ratings and crosses over many demographic, however, take out the voting public, and Idol is nothing more than a show designed to give people a false impression of reality; once again showing only the genetic lottery winners (the thin, perfect features, and preferably white) need apply.

And then there is the endless tripe thrown at us, from the mindless programming of CSI and the Law & Order franchises, to lame comedies such as Two and Half Men, Freddie and most of The WB’s Friday night line up. And while FOX will pull a show quicker than Dick Cheney shooting at a friend, it occasionally will give us a quirky, goofy show that defies logic and survives.

While I cannot forgive them for killing Arrested Development, I have to admit I enjoy The Loop. I’ll grant you that has a great cast, that includes two very hot men, Bret Harrison (who I first noticed in Grounded For Life) as Sam and Eric Christian Olsen as brother Sully. There’s two girls, but I could careless. Then there’s Mimi Rogers and Phillip Baker Hall, two veteran character actors who elevate the sometime sophomoric humor to new heights.

And maybe because the show is set in Chicago, the old home town, also might figure into why I like this show.

The Loop is about recent grad Sam (Harrison) as he tries to work in the shark infested waters of cooperate America, working -more or less - as hatchet man as a no frills airline. There, he tries to find a balance between his career as this young hotshot executive and demands of his roommates. He lives with his older, slacker brother Sully (Olsen) and his college pal/medical student Piper; and Lizzy, who tends bar at their local hangout and is oblivious to the fact that everything always goes her way because she's so good looking.

Harrison has a rubbery face and plays the straight man very well. His double takes and ability not to get silly make his character very appealing, as he tires his hardest not be what every corporate drone has been for decades.

Meanwhile, Olsen’s Sully is atypical older brother seen on TV and in the movies. He’s the slacker, and actually seems to be younger than his brother. The actor is appealing and like Harrison, cute and lovable.

Perhaps the other aspect of the show is the writing, as The Loop is created by former South Park writer Pam Brady and Andy Richter Controls the Universe writer Luis Gluck. Both have a talent for offbeat humor and satire -something that is missing in 99.9% of TV comedy.

The gem of the show is Mimi Rogers and Phillip Baker Hall who seem to having a great time with these broad roles. Rogers Meryl is so politically uncorrect, and seems to take a cruel delight in teasing him -not only as his role as this junior drone, but sexually also - that she seems to be enjoying this role immensely. And Hall has made a career out playing villains and jerks, that his turn as the CEO of the airlines -who seems clueless at times, but ruthless in giving his customers less for more money - is perfect casting.

Then there’s Chicago. I love my old town, don’t get me wrong. I just hate the weather, where only 3 months out of the year is it really great place to live. The show does look as it is filmed there -those old bungalow style houses seem unique to the Windy City - but they had to film these episodes last summer or early fall, has there was a lot of outside filming (I’m guessing the interiors are filmed here in LA) as there have been many episodes so far with Harrison and Olsen nearly naked.

Anyway, The Loop has its appeal and I can’t explain why (beyond the hotness of Harrison and Olsen) and it could be a suitable (but not perfect) replacement for the now cancelled Arrested Development.

But, from my impression, FOX seems to like this show, giving it tons of exposure. Whether that translates into a second season, is unknown until next month.

But, I may now have found a reason to watch FOX (though I do like Bones). But the bitter cancellation of AD is still fresh in my mind.

I’ll be watching.

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